Student’s Story: Chasing the Dream
Bolashaq Scholarship Program allows Kazakhstan citizens to study at top world universities at the expense of the country's budget. The program exists since 1993 with the support of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and provides opportunity to study in priority fields for the country.
Greatest minds of Kazakhstan, passing a competitive selection, get an opportunity to study for a master's degree, postgraduate studies and doctoral studies at best universities abroad and take short-term internships as well.
Recently, changes have been introduced in the competitive selection for the Bolashaq scholarship. According to the new Selection Rules for all categories of applicants for academic programs, the requirements for the average score of Bachelor's or Specialist's degree have been changed from 3.0 to 3.3 (out of 4.0/4.33) GPA.
In addition, the criteria for the level of English language proficiency in the IELTS system has been increased from 5.0 to 5.5 score for all quota categories of applicants for the Master's program. At the same time, the requirement to applicants in the category "Engineering and technical professional" remains at the same level of IELTS 5.0.
A new category "General Competition" for persons with the certificate IELTS 6.5 and above, as well as GPA diploma 3.3 and above is introduced for participation in the competition. For this category of applicants there are no requirements for seniority and application from the employer.
This category, along with other categories of scholarship holders for a master's degree, will have the opportunity to undergo pre-master training (pre-master ̓s) for up to 2 months to adapt to the educational and socio-cultural environment of the country of study.
We asked Bolashaq Presidential Scholarship holder Zhanyl Sagyndykkyzy about the selection stage and study at one of oldest universities in the UK.
Why Bolashaq Scholarship?
What made me apply to Bolashaq Programme? Actually, it is my life-long dream to study abroad, namely in Great Britain. Its education is valued all over the world. I wanted to learn and get skills in my related professional activity in order to implement it in our country and contribute to its development, in my field of activity.
I come from an ordinary family, my parents are retired and I could not afford to study abroad, so Bolashaq scholarship program was the most appropriate option in my case.
Preparation for the Selection
First, I learned all the rules of Bolashaq program, what categories are there, what is the required list of documents for the applicants. I realized that quota category for the civil construction engineer with experience is most appropriate for me. My work experience is five years that is why I have chosen this category. If I passed the contest, I have the opportunity to take a language course. I realized that I needed to improve my English and I knew nothing about IELTS at that time. I took a language course in my hometown in Aktau, then I started my IELTS course preparation. My score was 5,5 that was enough for participation in selection. I collected all required documents, which also include medical certificates, motivational and reference letters. The most important document was motivation letter. I have described in details, what is my goal and why I want to study abroad. The next stage was Kazakh language exam, that I took without any problems, as it is my native language. I also took history of Kazakhstan, the Constitution of Kazakhstan, IQ and psychological tests. All these stages I passed successfully and finally came to the stage of meeting with state commission experts. In my opinion, it is the most difficult and decisive stage. To prepare for it, I read about future projects, construction, what plans will be implemented in Kazakhstan. The questions that will be asked depend on the state commission. Since I am a civil construction engineer, the commission asked me about my goals, why I want to study in England, what are my goals after returning to homeland. There were questions about the industrial development of the country, my contribution to the development of the country. The questions were asked in Russian and Kazakh languages. A month later, the list of applicants was announced, who successfully passed all stages.
Choice of University
At the moment I am studying at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. This university is second oldest universities after Cambridge. Why did I choose this university?
In my major Civil Engineering, this university ranks third in UK universities. First of all, I took into account the ranking of the university, its location and other aspects like teaching staff and disciplines. The university looks absolutely stunning and education system in UK totally differs from ours. It is focused on the student's independent work. The student comes to the classes, the lecturer gives the direction, and then you read and make further rehearsal. If there are any questions, you write your professor by e-mail. Attending the lectures is not necessary, however I did not skip them. There are also tutorials and laboratory classed that student should definitely attend as we practice here. Studying at the university is not easy, you have to be consciously ready to study at university abroad, to sacrifice your sleep, be able to manage your time properly.
I heard that recently Bolashaq program has introduced new selection requirements. Originally there was such a category ‘self-enrolled’. The scholarship holder had to get an invitation from the university. I think that there should be reasons for removing the quota category and it really became more difficult to get the scholarship. On the other hand, these requirements will help to select those applicants who have a strong desire to study abroad. I think it will not be difficult for them to get an invitation letter and to take the IELTS exam. For example, when I sent the application, I received answers from all universities.
For all future applicants for Bolashaq Scholarship, I wish to have a great desire to enter and study by Bolashaq program. It is difficult, totally different, you must be ready for it and have a great desire to study and develop. If there is an intention, then there will be motivation.
photo credit: Zhanyl Sagyndykkyzy